Tips for prospecting clients in the commercial sector

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Closing a commercial real estate deal is leaps and bounds more difficult than a residential deal, but sometimes half the battle is visibility.

So how can commercial sector agents prospect clients more efficiently? According to veteran Colliers International sales representative Nicole Attias, building rapport is strikes at the heart of the matter, but understanding the finer points isn’t always clear to agents.

“I keep emails of past correspondence so that I can draw upon the information contained therein, like where they stand in their business,” she said. “Address the fact right away that they’re likely meeting with many other brokers because it shows credibility and that you want to stand out, and that’s where you begin showing them what you offer that differentiates yourself from the rest. There always has to be something about you that stands out to them.”

Attias follows up as often as her prospective clients would like her to—that could be every three months or twice a year—and when she does, she makes them feel important.

“When you’re meeting with somebody face to face for the first or second time, they’ll usually share personal things, whether about their kids or vacations they’ve taken, or even what they did over the summer—things that often go beyond small talk,” said Attias, adding she takes notes.

“Remembering birthdays is a great example of that. Taking down this information is key so that the next time you follow up with that individual, you can show them you remember these fine details they shared to you, and do it in a natural way. My dental hygienist, for example, takes notes about things I tell her, and every six month when I go in for a visit she’ll remember things I’ve shared with her that I’ve even forgotten about. It’s an endearing trait.”

Another way to build rapport with prospective clients is by leaving strategic voicemails. Attias advises mimicking the prospective client’s greeting tone because people gravitate towards familiarity.

“If someone sounds very detailed-oriented in their voicemail greeting, you should sound the same way when you leave them a message—for example, mention the day, date and time. Some people are also very casual, and if that’s the case, you should sound casual as well.”

Another essential facet of rapport building is to always ask for a meeting.

“You’re better off being direct than getting a bunch of rejections,” she said. “You don’t want to give away all the information over the phone, so build interest, some intrigue.”

In spite of all her advice, Attias is emphatic about her next point.

“Don’t try to be somebody you’re not because people can smell that right away.”